The Haus

Thursday, March 9, 2000

X-Box: It's Official

ActiveWin caught Bill Gates' appearance on MSNBC where he formally revealed the X-Box gaming console. Here are the specs (most of which was already known):I'm sure we'll be hearing way too much about this product over the next year. You can check out the X-Box homepage tomorrow for more information. Thanks Evil Avatar.

5.08 Drivers, UT, and Me

I just played some Unreal Tournament to see if these new NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers would take care of the mipmap corruption on my TNT. First I played about three different levels of Capture-the-Flag (usually the corruption would come in after several levels). Then I played the two levels were the corruption seemed most prevalent (and most nasty): DM-Morpheus and CTF-LavaGiant. I am pleased to report that there was no corruption of any kind. Obviously this is only one time played, but so far things seem VERY good.


Loki Software and Creative Labs have teamed up to produce OpenAL, a cross-platform, non-proprietary, LGPL-licensed, 3D audio library. Basically it does for audio what OpenGL does for video. Check this interview on LinuxGames with Michael Vance, one of the OpenAL developers.

What does this mean for you? It means 3D sound without having to rely on DirectX. Thus games can more easily be designed for Windows, Mac, and (perhaps most importantly) Linux at the same time. Thanks Slashdot for the news.

Your Computer May Be Possessed By Demons

That bastion of technical knowledge, the Weekly World News, "reports" that a "leading minister" has discovered that all PCs built after 1985 have enough room to be possessed by Satan himself, or at least his minions. This "leading minister" reports that some of his churchgoers' computers spewed out "a stream of obscenities written in a 2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect!" There's hope though--if your computer demons lead you to wickedness, you can consult your clergyman or else have your hard drive replaced and software reinstalled.

Hmmm. I've seen those obscenities from my PCs. "Illegal operation. . . General protection fault. . . Internet Explorer. . ." I exorcised the evil spirits in some of my PCs, and now the only daemons inhabiting them are friendly!

The Master comments: Except for the SunRPC, finger, ftp, http, sendmail, etc, etc, daemons installed by default and not secured >:-)

A.T. Hun comments: They should've asked some real "leading ministers" who are also computer geeks. Whoever that might be . . .

More on the 5.08 Detonators

Thresh's Firing Squad has an article examining the new unofficial NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers. They look at general advantages over the 3.68 drivers, plus the effects of enabling S3TC texture compression and full-scene anti-aliasing. In some cases, using the 5.08 drivers resulted in a 30% speed increase on a GeForce!

NVNews is reporting that there is "fairly undesirable screen artifacting" when using full-screen anti-aliasing in Unreal Tournament with these drivers. They also give this report:
I was hoping to get in a question and answer session in with NVIDIA on the Detonator 5.08's. They respectfully declined and stated that these drivers should have not been leaked and that they are NOT at all ready for use by their customers. If you have problems with them, you're on your own.
Also, 3DGPU ran some tests to see the effects of the 5.08 drivers in Quake III Arena. It has been theorized that these drivers use some form of texture compression by default in Q3A which causes these incredible speed-ups. Hopefully NVIDIA will be releasing "official" versions of these drivers soon, along with an "official" explanation.

Thanks Björn3D for the links.

Pondering the Imponderable

OK, I'm used to Midwestern weather being, um, eccentric, but this is crazy. Yesterday: temperature around 70F, thunderstorm. Last night we had to turn on our air conditioning to clear the humidity out of the air. This morning: temperature around 27F, snowstorm. It even looks like I might have to shovel before the day is over. Oh well.

So far the 5.08 Detonator drivers (story) have been working well on my system. I really need to play some Unreal Tournament to put them through their paces. If they take care of my mipmapping corruption in UT, I'll be ecstatic.

The Master and I found a bug in our database the other day that causes all the news searches to be case-sensitive. Hopefully that situation will be resolved soon.

The Master comments: Midwest: I love it when it snows in May myself :-( Hey! Nice hint A.T.! I hope to correct the case-sensitivity issue tonight. I wasn't able to take care of it last night with all the thunder and lightning around us.

A.T. Hun comments: Actually, it wasn't intended to be a hint to you, rather a helpful service to both the people who have used our search function :)

The Master comments: Both people?!? Wow-we must be getting popular =) Actually-I needed the hint-I've been thinking about how to fix that all day. BTW: I think we need a comment system-this is getting silly!

Wednesday, March 8, 2000


Eric Biessman updated his .plan with this enigmatic entry:
Add some seasoning, bake until golden brown.

Something smells good...
Something tells me SOF is gold today or tomorrow. Consider this a hunch :-)

Obi-Wan Preview

A German site called the GamersZone has a preview of LucasArts' Episode I: Obi-Wan online. It is in German, so you may need to make use of a Babelfish, which will give you at least the gist of what they are saying. Included are a couple of never-before-seen screenshots. Obi-Wan is my personal most-anticipated game, but I'm a Star Wars freak.

The Master comments: Oh, admit it A.T., you're just a freak (you saw that coming, right?!?)

Update! Oops! I forgot to credit Blue's News for the link. Mea culpa.

Reverend on the 5.08 Detonators

There have been some unofficially-released NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers floating about on the web (a little birdie told me you could possibly find them here). They reportedly enable S3TC (S3's texture compression) in OpenGL and allow for full-scene anti-aliasing. Reverend puts these drivers through their paces. The S3TC really didn't help him much since he has a 64M Quadro card, instead of the standard-issue 32M GeForce. The FSAA provides some very noticable improvements, but at a HUGE performance penalty.

I installed these drivers yesterday on my TNT. Some sites are reporting 5-20% speed-ups with these new drivers on TNT2 Ultras and GeForces. I haven't experienced such speed-ups (but I think my poor TNT is pretty much maxed out as is), but there haven't been slow-downs either. Remarkably, these are the first post-2.08 drivers that DON'T cause NHL 2000 to lock up on my system! I'm keeping them installed for two reasons: 1) to see if they get rid of the mipmap corruption I often see in Unreal Tournament, and 2) to hopefully correct some 2D anomalies I see with the 2.08 drivers. I'll keep you posted.

To Bail or Not to Bail?

Today's Ask Hook column on Voodoo Extreme tries to answer the musical question: if the game I'm working on seems like it is never, ever going to ship, should I stay on board out of some sense of loyalty or bail for theoretically greener pastures? Knowing Brian Hook's recent history, the answer probably won't surprise you. Makes for a good read nonetheless.

Qstat website down

It appears that the Qstat homepage is down. I'm looking for an alternate link at this time. I'll keep everyone informed as I find out what's going on.

Update! It seems there was a new apache install that borked the Qstat homepage. It's all fixed now :-)

Salon on Daikatana Crunch Mode, Pt. II

The second and final part of Salon's article on Daikatana cruch time has been posted. Key figures in this installment are Stevie Case and Luke Whiteside.

Carmack on Hardware Solutions to Texture Thrashing

id's John Carmack made a whale of an update to his .plan with his hardware-based solution to a problem that everyone has faced: texture thrashing. Yes, you have faced it if you play any 3D games, even if you didn't know it! It's a monstrously huge update, but well worth the mental effort.

The Master comments: Wow. I have strained my brain. :-)

A.T. Hun comments: Tell me about it. And I was reading it after midnight!

Past Two Days' News

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
August 10, 2007: SCO SUCKS IT DOWN!
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May 20, 2007: PhpBB 3.0 RC 1 Released
February 2, 2007: DOOM3 1.31 Patch

January 27, 2007: Join the World Community Grid
January 17, 2007: Flash Player 9 for Linux
December 30, 2006: Darkness over Daggerford 1.2
December 19, 2006: Pocket Tunes 4.0 Released
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